Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose alongside the other members of their wedding party on Saturday, May 19.
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The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, has come and gone. But we may all be permitted to linger a day or two on its vibe — happiness and beauty in a troubled and ugly world.
The event was beautiful in at least two ways:
It was beautiful as spectacle, as a piece of theater and spontaneous film documentary. It was staged and costumed with great care by many hands.
But it was also beautiful for the way in which it transcended, if only for a moment, race, class, and politics. American Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered the impassioned sermon, said it “brought worlds together, organized around love.”
We also saw the resilience of the monarchy in Great Britain. It just works, in part because it continually adapts. It surely is adapting now, with a new generation steeped both in tradition and modernity.
This royal family’s troubles, no greater than any family’s, have been paraded before the world. But a monarchy gives a nation a lasting, living, flesh and bone representation of itself, and that turns out to be very good for a democracy like Britain’s.
Finally, the wedding was a visual poem to what Bishop Curry rightly called the power of love. If we have love and practice love, he said, “we can figure out the rest.”
Mr. Curry almost stole the show — almost, because no one could have upstaged the obvious besottedness of these handsome young people. But, as the bishop also said, echoing the Apostle Paul, love in any form — romantic love, Christian charity, random acts of kindness — changes the way we perceive the world, and that changes the world, if only briefly, and only a little.
This was perhaps indicated by two musical selections — the Tallis motet “If Ye Love Me,” about love of God and the American pop/soul classic “Stand By Me,” which is not about besottedness, but fidelity.
So let us linger. We need a royal wedding once a month.
We know we can’t have one. But that is the point of the monarchy, when it is working right, just as it is the point of organized religion — a constant reminder of what is larger, noble, and lovely.
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